So last week I’m looking for a place to meet my wife near CarMax & Ikea. On Yelp I noticed a little place in Merriam called “El Pulgarcito” with 4 stars. I assumed it was Mexican since pretty much anything written in Spanish automatically gets labeled as Mexican by me. Wish I could read it but I can’t. Well I didn’t make it there with my wife, Runza won out that day, but I decided to ask the KC Eats group on Facebook about it, they provided positive feedback and said it was a Salvadorean and to try the pupusas. I’m pretty much just a Chimichanga when it comes to Mexican but I figured I’d give this pupusas thing a try as lots of folks seemed to like it and hey, it comes with Pork & Cheese so its gotta be good.
So this week I marked El Pulgarcito into my lunch calendar and make the trek from downtown to Merriam. It was the first day of the KCFoodGuys Pepsi Challenge so I ask for Coke and she says the have it. But when I look back I see a Pepsi machine. Hey you’re not pulling a fast one on this guy the first day of the KCFoodGuys Pepsi Challenge. So I mention again that I want Coke not Pepsi, and the waitress informs me that they have Coke too, in bottles. Rock on! Give me one of those. So I order the pork and cheese pupusas with a steak taco and a chicken taco. They had a Chimichanga, but this is Salvadorean food, I need to stay authentic this trip.
My pupusas and taco’s arrived with a green sauce and a red sauce on the side. I loved the green sauce big time. The pupusas looked like part tortilla and part pancake and was served with some funky side cabbage that appears to be some kind of Latin American coleslaw. I guess its called curtido which is a lightly fermented cabbage slaw with red chilies and vinegar. The pupusas was served in my view, naked, where’s the pork and cheese I’m thinking? Theres just a pancake/tortilla like thing sitting alone on the plate. This is pork and cheese pupusas I confirm? “yep” Evidently the pork and cheese are inside this Salvadorean pancake contraption although you wouldn’t know it by looking at it, as its only about a quarter-inch thick tops. So I cut into the thing and sure enough there is a thin layer of pork and cheese smashed in there that you can’t see from the outside. I guess you can’t judge a pupusa by its cover. There had to be some work put into this thing with how thin it was, with no pork or cheese sticking out of it and getting burnt up on the griddle. As for the taste, let me just say that I loved the thing so much that I ordered and ate a second one before we left.
As for the tacos they were small and tasty. I’ll be ordering the steak one again as it had awesome flavor. My chicken taco was a little dry and tough, not bad, but I would have just preferred to have two steak taco’s after eating the steak one first. Now if you’re looking for free chips and salsa this is not your place. If you’re looking to be wowed by the ambiance then this is not your place. The outside aesthetics are lacking, and the parking lot is partially gravel. You’ll actually forget you’re in Johnson County for a moment when you pull up to the place. When you walk in you’ll be hit with flamingo pink which adorns the walls and counter. They say pink is a masculine color in Latin America. I’ve got to think that’s just a load of bull stink.
Overall I was satisfied with my visit and will be looking forward to my future visits for pupusas and tacos, maybe I’ll even try their Chimi. Before ending I wanted to share of few more interesting things about ElPulgarcito, beside the name which I’ll get to in a second, is that they serve breakfast all day long, which is good because they don’t open until 10am Monday – Thursday and at 9am on Fri, Sat, & Sunday. So if you’re a late riser I’d suggest trying aSalvadorean breakfast sometime. When I try to translate ElPulgarcito, I get some interesting options. (Midget, Tom Thumb, who gets swallowed, and Thumbelina) I’ll have to check on that the next time I go or if you know the proper translation for the restaurant please put in the comments below. Lastly we were told they will be opening a new location downtown near 7th & Central. El Pulgarcito, I look forward to your arrival.